Salmonella outbreak caused by sausage sold at 4-H event
Frederick County Health Department warns against eating meat purchased at the January event
A recent Salmonella outbreak in Frederick County has been linked to sausage that was served at a fundraising breakfast at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Thurmont on March 5.
According to Barbara Brookmyer, a health officer at the Frederick County Health Department, the organizers purchased the sausage from the Frederick County 4-H Camp Center Country Butchering which was held at the Mount Pleasant Ruritan Club on Jan. 27.
Donald Foster, president of the Mount Pleasant Ruritan Club, said the group rented out its facility to the butchering organizers but had nothing to do with the event beyond that.
Brookmyer said the Health Department was notified by Frederick Memorial Hospital when the lab found Salmonella in some patients' stool cultures on March 11. A public announcement was made this morning. There were a total of eight patients whose stool cultures confirmed they had Salmonellosis, she added.
Of those, all had eaten at the Thurmont fundraising breakfast.
Salmonellosis, an infection from Salmonella bacteria, often comes from the consumption of contaminated food. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, chills, headache, nausea and vomiting. The infection can be life-threatening, especially to infants, senior citizens or those with weakened immune systems, Brookmyer said.
But, "as is typical with food-borne illnesses, there are many more people who develop the infection than who ever seek medical attention," she said. She suspects that many more people ate the contaminated food and developed symptoms.
While the health department was unable to get samples of the sausage that was served at the church breakfast, staff members were able to track down some other samples of meat that were purchased at the January 4-H butchering, Brookmyer said. Those samples were found to contain Salmonella when tested at the state health department lab.
Brookmyer said the meat was traced back to a U.S. Department of Agriculture facility, which has since been inspected.
"I can't say where along the chain the contamination occurred," she added, saying that Salmonella contamination can occur in a variety of ways, and can happen anywhere from the farm where an animal is slaughtered to the kitchen where the meat is cooked.
"People who have purchased other meat products from the butchering...our recommendation is that they not consume that other meat," Brookmyer said.
Additional information on proper food handling, specifically pork and pork products, can be obtained by contacting the Frederick County Health Department at 301-600-2542 or accessing their website through www.frederickcountymd.gov.
Clinical questions regarding Salmonella infections and symptoms can be directed to 301-600-3363.